Skip to Content

Does Clorox for colors whiten whites?

Clorox makes many different bleach products for laundering clothes. Two of their most popular products are Clorox Regular Bleach and Clorox 2 with Color Boost. Clorox Regular Bleach is meant for whitening whites, while Clorox 2 with Color Boost is a color-safe bleach intended for brightening colors. So does Clorox for colors work on whitening whites? Let’s take a closer look.

The Difference Between Regular Bleach and Color-Safe Bleach

Regular bleach contains sodium hypochlorite as its active ingredient. Sodium hypochlorite acts as a whitening agent by oxidizing and breaking down stains and dyes. However, it is an aggressive chemical that can damage delicate fabrics and fade colors over time.

Color-safe bleaches like Clorox 2 contain sodium percarbonate as their active ingredient. When dissolved in water, sodium percarbonate releases hydrogen peroxide which helps lift stains from fabric. Hydrogen peroxide is effective at brightening colors and getting rid of some discoloration, but it does not bleach fabric the same way that regular bleach does.

Using Clorox 2 on Whites

Clorox 2 can be used on white laundry, but it will not produce the same level of whitening that you would get with regular bleach. Here’s why:

  • Clorox 2 does not contain optical brighteners which help make clothes appear brighter and whiter.
  • The hydrogen peroxide in Clorox 2 does not oxidize stains as aggressively as sodium hypochlorite in regular bleach.
  • Without the bleaching action of sodium hypochlorite, Clorox 2 cannot remove yellowing or dinginess from white clothes.

So while Clorox 2 can help lift some discoloration and freshen up whites, it will not dramatically whiten them or get rid of stubborn yellow stains.

Should You Use Clorox 2 on White Laundry?

Clorox recommends using their Regular Bleach on whites and Clorox 2 with Color Boost on colors. But can you use Clorox 2 on white laundry in a pinch? Here are some tips:

  • Clorox 2 is safe for occasional use on whites if you are out of regular bleach. It can help remove some light stains.
  • For best results, use Clorox 2 as a laundry booster along with your regular detergent. Do not use it as a replacement for bleach.
  • Check clothing labels – some fabrics like silk, wool, or spandex may be damaged even by color-safe bleaches.
  • If using on whites, stick to sturdy cottons and linens that can tolerate gentle bleaching.
  • Never mix Clorox 2 with vinegar or regular bleach – this creates toxic chlorine gas.

While Clorox 2 is not formulated to whiten, it can be used infrequently on whites if necessary. But for best results, regular bleach should be used to lift stubborn stains and keep whites looking bright.

Whitening Power of Different Bleaches

Not all bleaches are created equal when it comes to whitening laundry. Here is how some common bleaches compare:

Bleach Type Active Ingredient Whitening Ability
Regular Bleach (Clorox) Sodium hypochlorite Excellent
Color-Safe Bleach (Clorox 2) Sodium percarbonate/hydrogen peroxide Moderate
Oxygen Bleach Sodium percarbonate Moderate
Natural Bleach (hydrogen peroxide) Hydrogen peroxide Moderate

As you can see, regular bleach with sodium hypochlorite is in a class of its own when it comes whitening and brightening laundry. Alternatives like hydrogen peroxide are gentler but less powerful at stain removal.

Whitening Tips for White Laundry

Here are some tips to keep white laundry looking its best:

  • Use bleach: Regular bleach helps whites stay bright and removes stains.
  • Wash with hot water: Hot water helps bleach be more effective at whitening.
  • Add baking soda: Baking soda is a natural whitener that lifts stains.
  • Air dry: Line drying prevents yellowing from heat damage.
  • Use bluing agents: Bluing brings out whiteness by counteracting yellow tones.
  • Wash whites separately: Washing with colors can cause dye transfer.
  • Pre-treat stains: Treat stains immediately to avoid setting them.

With the right laundry practices, you can keep your white clothes looking like new. Just remember – when it comes to serious whitening power, nothing beats good old regular bleach.


Clorox 2 color-safe bleach is useful for brightening colors but does not contain the whitening agents in regular bleach that are necessary for keeping whites their brightest. While it can be used in a pinch on white laundry, it is not formulated to remove stubborn stains or yellowing. For best results, opt for regular bleach on your white clothes and use color-safe bleach only on fabrics labeled bleach-safe. With some diligent laundering and the right products, you can keep your white clothes looking freshly bright.

Whitening and brightening laundry is an art and science. Let us know if you have any other laundry questions! We are happy to share more cleaning tips and advice.